Sunday, June 29, 2008

Deadheads & Suckers

My parents and I have been reduced to basically one topic. Gardening. My mom and I speak almost daily. It goes like this,
"What are you doing"
"I need to deadhead and water."
"I just finished. Now I need to pinch the suckers off my tomatoes."
"Me too, ok bye."

That's pretty much it. My mom mentioned to me that I had to pinch the suckers off my maters. I did not know maters had suckers nor how to pinch them. So I made my dad show me and now I pinch my suckers daily. You feel better once you pinch your suckers. You really do.
I knew about the deadheading but a few days ago my mom told me that my flowers are "leggy." Leggy? What to do about that?
Well, the other day Jay brought home a plant from work that had gotten very long and stringy and my mom said it too was leggy. Then she immediately snipped it down and stated that it would now become full and spectacular. And sure enough, it's getting there.
So I figured the same held true for my flowers. They are very green and bushy without a great deal of bloomage. So I de-legged them by snipping them down. What we in this family of gardeners calls giving a plant a hair cut.
There was a good sized mound of plant snippings on the ground and several pots of hair cutted flowers around the yard when I was done.
I'll let you know what becomes of this.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Happy Thoughts Today

1. No weekend working for a month.
2. Vacation in a week.
3. Finally have a pony tail.
4. Gardening.
5. All caught up at work, for the moment.
6. Not wearing foundation in the summer.
7. Grateful that I live here; no floods, no earthquakes, no tornadoes...
8. The biggest problem with my kids is that they are always hanging around.
9. I had a giant bowl of corn flakes for breakfast.
10. Going here later.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Sun Is Shining, Ozzy Is Singing

Has this ever happened to you? It's a lovely day. You go outside to do yard work, lay around, whatever. But your neighbors have their music BLASTING, apparently concerned that the astronauts orbiting Mars need a little back ground music the volume is set on ear bleed.
I am married to a musician who hangs out with musicians and thinks all conversations lead to a musical analogy eventually. I understand musicians.
But I don't understand the need for outdoor blasting music. I really don't get it. I actually like the sound of the outside. I want to hear the birds, the leaves rustling, even the air planes flying over head. I want to hear little kids yelling and dogs barking. I want to hear the quiet. Why do we need to add noise? If you want to listen to music, go inside and turn on the radio.
I think the requirement of a boom box to enhance the nature experience is yet another example of grown-up ADHD.
Oh, and what about the fact that I have to listen to it whether I want to or not?
I'd ask what you think but you probably can't hear me over your neighbor's "Best Of The Eagles" CD.

Monday, June 23, 2008

This Day

This day is not mine. I did not create it nor can I control it. I am creation within creation. My only response is to open my eyes to the sunlight and to breathe in the air that my lungs were formed to breathe.
There is beauty and ugliness in this, like all days. I so often forget that I am that beauty and ugliness. I am capable of much. In fact, I will accomplish much with or without intention. If my moments sought only praise and to glorify He who created this day, and me in it, there would be beauty beyond my imagination.
You could be praying today, heavy burdened and interceding. You could be busy today pausing for a moment only to nod toward heaven as you go on your way. You could have no thought of the divine. Of your own creator. Of your own creation.
Today, if you'd like to spend the day with me, I will tell you where to find me. I will spend the day praising. I will dwell in the temple of the Most High God, the gate which only opens to my worship. I may seem to be many places but all that is eternal will be at the throne of grace.
All that matters of me will be at the feet of Christ.
This day, like me, is the creation of God.

1 Kings 9: 3 The LORD said to him: "I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

June 22, 2008

Isaiah 58:11 The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Thoughts I Thunk This Week

1. I should plant pickles in my garden.
2. Donny is a very good dog.
3. Donny is a very bad dog.
4. Vacation is coming!
5. I wish it would be warm and sunny for 2 days in a row.
6. I love watermelon.
7. I have to take my maters out of that tin pail and plant them in the ground.
8. Scrubs are much more comfortable to work in than business suits.
9. My pond looks very pitiful.
10. I would like to take a nap in a hammock.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Terrible Toddler

Good Friday morning! It's my day off since I am working the weekend. Believe me, I'd rather work today and be off the weekend but it is what it is. Always on my day's off, Donny stands at the side of the bed whining until I get up so no sleeping in over here. In fact, I got up half an hour earlier. The good news is that by 7:00 a.m. I've done some laundry, gotten dressed and started moving. That will make my day off "longer." I always regret sleeping away valuable hours when I don't have to work.
On the other hand, Donny has been bad this week. He cannot keep his lips off my pond. There was one weird little floaty plant that he was compelled to take out and put on the ground every time he walked by and now the Amish frog my mom got me always seems to require his intervention as I keep finding it in the middle of the yard. I don't think frogs with plastic legs can jump quite that far. I had to replace the umbrella plant that he took out with cattails. The cattails were relocated to the middle of the yard and don't look so healthy now despite my attempt to rescue them. He doesn't actually do any damage so much as I think he views this as a bunch of plants and junk in a giant water dish and it's his job to get the frog and plants back on dry land. The final result is that I'm down to two plants and constant frog retrieval. And one of the plants is cattail roots and mud. The Mr. prefers my parents' container for their water garden being taller and not so wide so we'll probably head out later to find a different pot and replace our plants. I'm not ready to give up yet! I'm not convinced this will have any particular effect on Donny who has been known to stand on two legs to drink from the bird bath.
He's gonna end up with malaria and bird flu before it's all said and done.
Also, on nice days we've been putting him in the yard instead of inside in his kennel. Well, as a result of his pond vandalism, it is back to the crate for the Donald. Of course, this morning I'm not working so he isn't under kennel alert. However, he is in a heightened state of agitation predicting his own confinement so for the last hour it's been in and out, in and out, whine whine whine. As the morning wears on, I'm hoping he'll figure out that he's in the clear temporarily and settle down a bit. Of course, by settle down I mean we'll just continue with the usual routine of nonstop tennis ball fetch.
Later today the next door neighbor, George, will come home. George is Donny's best friend. George carries doggy treats in his pockets and reaches under the fence to play ball. George has also taught Donny to lay down and speak. So now Donny stations himself at George's fence and spends the entire evening "speaking" and demanding George's attention like a bad 3 year old.
We're just glad when George comes home so we we can relax.

A puppy is but a dog, plus high spirits, and minus common sense.
Agnes Repplier

Monday, June 16, 2008


I don't know what's in the air, but we Michiganders are having quite a season for gardening. Margie has her beautiful veggie and herb garden. My parents have flowers blooming from every possible container. I have planted giant pumpkins and sunflowers. We're all waiting to see what become of the Topsy Turvy tomato planter, although mine has hit the ground three times.
Now we are moving on to container ponds. That's right, ponds. My parents and I (being a bad influence on one another) saw a news spot about growing pond plants in a container without installing a high falutin' real pond. Well, there was nothing for it but to give it a go as we do nothing without full-on obsession. I found a big plastic tub and threw it in the yard knowing my dad would buy pond plants for me because there was no doubt he and my mom were going to plant a water garden. Guess what? Got home and there it was! All the Mr. and I had to do was pick up some gravel and admire its fabulousness.
The container pond people tell us that the water will settle and be very beautiful with virtually no upkeep, which is a good thing since I'm busy picking up my Topsy Turvy tomato planter off the ground constantly. Will keep you updated. There are two snails in it already and I am not sure how I feel about that.
Come winter, we're gonna ice skate on it.

John 5:4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.

Not only do I really love this scripture, but if this isn't troubled water I don't know what is.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Father! - to God himself we cannot give a holier name. ~William Wordsworth

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Dinner Conversation With a Friend

1. It's never too late.
2. He meets you where you are.
3. His word guards you.
4. Scripture can cleanse you.
5. He only takes the problems you give him.
6. You don't have to figure out how he can fix it.
7. He will let you find your own lowest point.
8. He will always have someone in your life to love you at your ugliest.
9. He understands you better than you understand yourself.
10.It's about you and Him and the rest will settle out.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Being Gardened

A week or so ago, Jay and I decided to do some planting. My grampa had always been a gardener and I'd always wished I was one. Years ago, when daboyz were small, I attempted a container garden. I bought about three big planters and a bag full of seeds. Tomatoes, peppers, cukes. I spent the day planting with my little boys feeling that this is the stuff their childhoods should be made of. The Mr. wanted nothing to do with it and stayed inside the air conditioned house having worked in a hot factory all day long while I planted my seeds. I was excited to have my guys watch the tender sprouts become strong vines and ultimately to pick their harvest like I'd done with my grandparents; turning over the tomatoes this way and that, brushing the dirt off the sun-warmed cucumbers. This was my attempt at redeeming their childhoods which I felt was a pale comparison to the richness of my own.
We had a dog then named Jazz. Jazz just passed away about a year ago and if you read along as we said good bye to her you know we loved her. But Jazz was a bad dog sometimes. She was disrespectful, if you believe a dog can be such a thing. That evening after I planted my container garden and took daboyz inside for their bath, Jazz went outside and dumped over and dug through every last planter. She spread the dirt everywhere and my seeds along with it. Not to mention the few flowers I had planted in the process. All destroyed and spread all over the yard. When I went outside and saw what she'd done, I was devastated. I cried and cried not that we wouldn't have fresh vegetables that that, once again, I believed my kids had lost another one of the gifts I wanted to pass on to them. Somehow I was ashamed of what Jazz had done. I cleaned up the mess and threw those pots into the basement never to attempt another container garden.
Last week Jay and I bought two packets of seeds; sunflowers and pumpkins. We went for the sunflowers that promised to be seven feet tall and the pumpkins that will grow to seventy pounds (competition worthy!) We planted the sunflowers along our fence line by just yanking up some handfuls of grass and smashing the seeds down into the dirt. We proceeded to the circle of sandy clay around a utility pole and repeated the process with the sunflower seeds. We gave them all a good dose of water with Miracle Grow mixed in and I gave them another shot of water a few times throughout the week. I looked at the scars in the earth where we'd put the seeds. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.
My parents bought me a Topsy Turvy tomato planter and today the Mr. and I planted a few tomato plants in it. The extra plants from the flat I planted in an old tin bucket I found in the garage. We decided to hang the Topsy Turvy by the utility pole. While the Mr. was putting the thing together, I went over to check out where I wanted my Topsy Turvy hung.
And there, in the hard sandy clay, were pumpkin sprouts. Pretty nice sized hearty looking vines with fat green leaves. I walked over to the fence line. Nothing. Wait, maybe...I bent down and shoved aside the leaves that the storm had blown into the fence line. Sure enough, tiny tender sunflower stems with delicate leaves were hiding under the leaves blown by last night's wind against the fence.
I called Jay out and we walked around the utility pole with its sandy hard clay and up and down the fence line pushing away storm debris. We agreed that we never really believed those seeds sown so haphazardly would push their way up through that unprepared soil. We were sure the birds had dug up the seeds in the last several days. We planted those seeds with a lot less hope than I planted that container garden all those years ago. We planted them for the fun of it.
The Mr. hung my Topsy Turvy tomato planter in what is now my sandy hard clay pumpkin patch. I put my tin pail with the leftover tomato plants there too. I watered the baby sunflower sprouts and the competition worthy pumpkin vines.
Would you laugh at me if I told you I felt redeemed? That I sat back after all was said and done and cried with happiness? That I called my mom to tell her about the seeds sprouting?
I don't know why that bad Jazz destroyed my container garden. I don't know how those seeds managed to survive the birds and the sandy hard clay and the haphazard planting. I don't know what harvest there will be when summer all too quickly starts to turn its face away.
This time I don't have dreams of plucking fat red tomatoes from our vines or thick fuzzy vines with impossible orange pumpkin laying heavy on the ground. I haven't thought far enough ahead to worry about how tall the sunflowers might grow. I am not worrying about what might happen to my efforts and I won't cry at my failure if this is the beginning and end of my garden.
This time I enjoying inhaling the already tomato-y smell of the plants and I let the warmth of the fertilized soil fall over my bare feet. I filled my big watering can and let the cold water from the hose slosh over my bare dirty legs as I lugged it to my utility pole garden and enjoyed cool of the water as it made dirty rivulets down my legs. And this time, the moments are enough. My twenty year old planting silly childish fairy tale seeds with me...giant pumpkins and towering sunflowers. Ridiculous tomato plants hanging upside down or plopped without ceremony into a tin bucket. Cool water from a hose on warm dirty feet. Humidity drifting away on a breeze so cool you could almost feel its movement like the heat from an oven against your face.
I know now, that in the hardest clay, life can reach in and take hold. I know that even with neglect and haphazard care, tender roots can grasp the earth sending the tiniest leaves to whisper, "I'm here!"
I know that with effort and failure life beats within me. And that the ground that should not yield a harvest can be redeemed.
I know that tears of disappointment still water dry soil.
And joy will always grow. Push aside the debris from the storm and you might find evidence of new life.

1 Corinthians 3:6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.

Monday, June 09, 2008


Today the Mr. hurt my feelings. It wasn't anything so dramatic to be worth a novella but one of those moments when the hurt feelings seemed a bit out of proportion to his actions even to me, the "victim." But I got hurt and had a hard time getting unhurt. Like getting stuck in the mud or a Michigan snow drift and trying to rock your way out. As I sat there listening to him trying to change the subject and move on I wondered if I was sensitive. As in, too sensitive. I don't think of myself that way and yet just the right nuance (mostly from him) and there I am in an emotional snow drift. He's not a hurtful guy, but sometimes I am quite hurtable. Sensitive? I don't know.
Since I was already well into me-mode, I also started wondering if other people think I'm complicated. Again, I don't think I am. But the Mr. would probably say that I am sensitive and so maybe I am complicated too. The way I see it, I am so uncomplicated it shouldn't be all that hard not to hurt my feelings!
I am a deep thinker but a rare talker. I do not like rehashing the things that bother me. I give them a vent or two to specific people and then I'm done. Even if the situation isn't over, I'm over listening to it coming out of my mouth. Sometimes people think I'm wallowing or upset when really I'm just quieting down. I have nothing left to say but I'm not quite on the upswing yet.
I don't need cards or gifts or flowers for special occasions. I don't get hurt when I am not honored on special days. I'd rather have a pot of petunias than a diamond tennis bracelet.
My bureau is filled with t-shirts in white, gray and black. Yoga pants in gray, navy and black. Blue jeans. My summer shoe of choice is flip flops from Old Navy, $5/pair.
Luxury for me is crisp sheets on bare legs in the summer. Decadence is water melon, extra sweet when eaten warm. A pitcher of lemonade is a treat, fresh lemons a wonder. Old black and white movies soothe my nerves when they are frayed. I like to run across them by chance and not own them on DVD, it's more special that way. Old photographs are miraculous to look at. A well-written book is more tempting than a Caribbean vacation.
Maybe I am uncomplicated and sensitive. Maybe I'm complicated and overly sensitive. In all my faults and weaknesses, I know that being able to stretch out my bare legs on crisp sheets at bed time and finding it glorious for forty one years worth of nights is a gift.
And if I am indeed sensitive, let me hurt for others as much as I hurt for myself and I will call it a gift as well.
When all is said and done, if hurt feelings can fade with a Katherine Hepburn movie and a glass of lemonade; it doesn't really matter what label I wear. I am blessed.

Psalm 139:1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.

Storms & Flowers

Yesterday evening a line of fierce storms flew through Metro Detroit with a lot of damage.
I'm thankful to report that we are fine, only had one largish limb down and several minutes of worrying. Obviously our "damage" isn't worthy of mention so much as our gratitude to God for his protection. The Mr. and I were home but Daboyz were out and about and I am again reminded of who goes before us. Donny insisted on taking an inspection tour immediately after the winds calmed down a bit. He headed straight for the downed branch, laid down and began chewing on it only pausing now and again to look up at the lightening. He appears to possess no instinct whatsoever like those other dogs who bark when there is a storm approaching. In fact, he slept through the actual storm.
Sorry for my lack of weekend posting, I meant to do it and just never did. Between working and relaxing I just wasn't interesting in the computer when I got home. I assume you all muddled through without my list and scripture!
In other big news, my petunias have bloomed! I took them off the deck where they were hanging and put them alongside the house for a few days for maximum sun exposure (thank you Trish), doused them with Weed & Feed (thank you dad and mom) and about five days later, bloomage! The red and purple flowers finally showed up but the purple ones are the best so I took a pic of them. I know you've been waiting for updates.
Today is my day off and the Mr. has a vacation day (which he tries to take to coordinate with my scheduled days off). He's still sleeping but I've done a few loads of laundry and have a few to go. Need to change linens. I've already checked on my flodders (flowers per Macspeak circa 1991.) Once we're up and moving I'm headed to do some Father's Day shopping and buy a tomato plant for my Topsy Turvy. I'll keep you updated on that! It's warm here, 80 degrees at 7:30 and headed for the 90s. I will not complain. We have waited and begged for warm weather for months. Plus, after years of wearing long pants in warm weather because of embarrassment, I have finally accepted my dimply white varicosed legs and just enjoy the feeling of shorts and flip flops. Simple pleasures are my thing.
Another line of storms due late this afternoon, I'd better roll the Mr. out of bed so I can change them sheets and we can get moving.
Today is a day of thankfulness for all that I have; from safety in the storm to bare legs in the sunshine. And a day to be reminded to pray for others whose storms leave more than a tree limb in their wake.
Have a beautiful day!

Isaiah 54:10-12 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed,yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you. O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted,I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones.

Friday, June 06, 2008

The Pear

In the midst of life as a Christian we can make things very complicated that never started out that way. I think that is why Paul warned against silly debates and disputes. I can remember as a child worrying that forgetting my bed time prayers would leave me without God's favor or if I prayed without "In Jesus Name" at the close, it canceled them out.
I have had "bad" things happen in my life and immediately identified my own responsibility because I hadn't tithed or read my Bible that week. I've searched the scripture poring over foot notes looking for the black and white truth of some concept. I've worried that I missed something by reading the New Living instead of the King James.
I've tried to fit the divine into my human hands when in fact my human form was shaped by divine hands.
Yesterday morning I was eating a pear when I noticed the little oval sticker was still on it after I took a bite. So I peeled it off and in its place was a perfect little heart, the scar of the sticker. Two thoughts drifted across my mind at once, "What a weird coincidence" and "Nothing happens without God causing it." The first thought was written by human hands, the second by divine.
In the way that the Holy Spirit very quickly fills us with truth not confined to real time, I realized that the sentence was "Nothing happens without God causing it." Not allowing, causing.
God is not an engineer who put the world into motion on automatic, stopping by on occasion to confirm it still spinning. He did not allow the water melon that sits on my counter to grow with stripes, he painted it. He does not allow my lungs to receive air, he breathes into them.
Yes, I stopped and took a picture of my pear. It would've been prettier without that horse bite I'd already taken of it. Then again, I do put my human hands, mouth and feet to most things before turning them gently around to understand the divine that might be just hidden behind something. I should be taking these human hands to peel away until I find the mark of God.
As a little girl, the world was wondrous and magical to me. Sights, sounds and textures were fascinating. Snowflakes seemed impossible and dewy grass under my feet was glorious year after year. I am still captured by the wonder of it all. You may think it is fanciful but I am sure that God made an oval sticker leave a heart-shaped scar on my pear.
Human hands holding the divine. The divine holding hands with man.
My pear.
My Emanuel.

Isaiah 49:16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Post & Run

The weather has finally turned toward warmth and sunshine in Michigan so I'm taking advantage of it and spending far less time in front of the computer lately. It seems I am never quite done buying one more flower pot or planting one more seed or just sitting outside enjoying the fresh air.
This week at the hospital has been busy as well. My mom's garage sale is next week as is Father's Day and I'm working this weekend so I don't expect to be doing a whole lot of writing in the next several days either. I do stop by every one's blogs even if I don't comment to check in and see what is happening in your worlds.
I planted sunflower and pumpkin seeds around here although I suspect the birds have already made brunch out of them. We'll see. The petunias I hung are making me nuts. They are green and have a ton of buds that never quite open and blossom. I have watered them, Miracle Growed them, pruned them...I'm stumped. I specifically bought them with the theory that ANYBODY can grow petunias! My neighbors have beautiful ones on their front porch.
My grape vine, under Tom's tender care, is thriving. Maybe he can tend to my petunias? It's wonderful see the old vine coming back to life. Next I need to tackle the flora and fauna along my southern fence line. It's several different kinds of bushes and I like the unplanned informalness of it but it's become a jungle out there. Frankly, the Mr. and I don't have any idea how to trim it properly but it needs doing so I guess we'll dig in and hope for the best! Meanwhile, my mom is all about Topsy Turvy Tomato planters. She has been on the hunt on foot and by internet only to notice that my neighbor has about four of them. Upon inquiry, we find out they were purchased about four blocks from my parents' house! Well, the Topsy Turvys have been secured including one for me. I'm hoping that they are prefilled and I am not altogether sure they really work. It seems like a mad science experiment. Something about growing upside down and watering from beneath which is really above. I don't get it.
We've been grilling every night and doesn't everything taste better on the grill? We've had sword fish and salmon burgers and tonight is kielbasa. In Michigan, you have to soak up every drop of temperatures above fifty. Tomorrow's forecast is +90! It's muggy and my make up slides off of my face within an hour and my hair is not worth fighting with but it's still beautiful.
So that's the less than exciting news from this end of town!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

June 1, 2008

Psalm 56:4 In God, whose word I praise,in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?